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Whether you’re planning to ping-pong around Europe or deep-dive into a single country for weeks at a time, consider Eurail your new best friend. Knowing how to use the continent’s intricate train system will give you access to 28 distinctly beautiful European countries and ultimately save you from the high cost of single trip tickets (freeing up more money for important things, like pizza and booze). Here are some handy tricks to keep in your back pocket (along with your mobile charger).

RELATED: 9 gorgeous hostels in Europe starting at $4

Get the best bang for your buck

First things first: Know which Eurail pass is best suited to your travel agenda. Depending on how long you’ll be adventuring through Europe and how many countries you want to check off that bucket list, you’ll have a few different options to choose from. All passes
can be customized, but the three main choices are the Global Pass, Select Pass and One Country Pass. There’s even a handy
online tool to figure out which pass is best for you, but in a nutshell…

Global Pass: This pass gives you the flexibility to travel anywhere at anytime. This is the most expensive option, but offers the most freedom in return. Go for this one if your travel style is more about winging it than having an advance game plan.

Select Pass: This one can be a bit tricky because the countries you’re
traveling between must adjoin. For this pass, first choose 2 to 4 bordering countries and then figure out the number of days you’ll need to use the pass within 2 months. If you already have in mind a general outline for which bordering countries you want to visit, the Select Pass is for you.

One Country Pass: The name says it all. The price of this pass depends on which country you want to explore and how many days of train travel you’ll need (options range from 3 to 8 days). The One Country pass is best for backpackers who want to explore one country, in-depth.

If you’re young, own it

If you’re under 27 years old, reap the benefits while you still can. The Eurail Youth Pass offers a 20% discount to any standard adult ticket and can be used with any of the above passes. Perks for being young? Amazing.

Return of the buddy system

Over 27 years old? No problem. Up to 5 travelers ages 28+ can be added to one Saver Pass, which offers a 15% discount on additional Eurail passes. Just make sure your group plans on staying together throughout the journey as you will only have one pass to share. This option is ideal for couples and friends traveling together.

ALSO: Sign up for CheapCash and save even more!

Get some shut eye en route to your next country

It’s a backpacker secret that you can save money on a hotel or hostel by taking an overnight train to your next destination. If you book a train after 7pm and cruise through the night to your next destination, only the following day will be counted as a “ride day”
on your Eurail pass. So if you get on an overnight sleeper train from Italy to Switzerland on Wednesday night, you’ll only account for Thursday on your Eurail pass. Expect to get cozy with your neighbors for the evening as the standard sleeper compartments
hold anywhere from 1 to 6 bunk beds (think: ear plugs).

Stay at a cheap, but-great hostel

Thankfully for us world travelers, long gone are the days when “hostel” and “dirty” were synonymous. The last decade has ushered in an era of clean, stylish hostel accommodations at unbeatable prices that make traveling much more feasible on any type of budget. For example, if you’re looking for adventure, try the Balmers Hostel. It’s nestled right in the Alps in Interlaken, Switzerland and offers bedded tent camping for $20 nightly. Staff members can book you for skydiving, bouldering, paragliding and a number of other adrenaline-fueled activities. Up for a party? The Pink Palace in Corfu, Greece has a reputation as one of the most famous youth hostels in the world, primarily because of it’s infamous toga parties, and starts at only $27 per night. Looking for something unique? Try the Train Hostel in Brussels, Belgium, where you can sleep in an authentic railroad car for $56 nightly.

Get those freebies

This one is a surprising but solid perk of your Eurail pass. You can snag seriously great discounts on hostels, attractions, inter-city transportation and more, just by flashing your Eurail pass. Get a 50% discount on a boat cruise through Austria’s scenic Lake
Constance, for example, or score the Bordeaux City Card for 10% off and spend the day meandering through 20 of France’s most renowned museums. You can also take advantage of a 30% discount with Blue Star Ferries to island hop around the Greek isles, and much more.

Tagged: City, International, Tips & advice, Types of Travel

Emeri Callahan

Emeri Callahan

Emeri is a freelance travel, wellness and lifestyle writer who divides her time between San Diego, CA and San Juan, PR. You can most likely find her planning her next trip or on the hunt for a burrito. Some of her greatest travel experiences include adventuring into the wilderness of Northern Kenya, spending time with a monk in Myanmar, and exploring the Italian countryside on a Vespa.
Emeri Callahan

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